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Man acquitted in Kate Steinle murder trial to face federal firearm charges

08 December 2017

The new charges come less than a week after a San Francisco jury acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate of homicide for the shooting death of Kate Steinle, a case that helped fuel a fierce national debate on immigration.

The charges, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possessing a firearm and ammunition as an illegal alien, could bring Zarate a 10-year prison sentence.

He added that Garcia-Zarate would ultimately be deported.

Garcia Zarate's acquittal in Kate Steinle's death prompted a firestorm of criticism from President Donald Trump and conservatives toward San Francisco, a so-called sanctuary city.

The federal indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and California-based Justice Department officials. He was indicted on one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and being an illegally present alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

In San Francisco, reaction to the not-guilty verdict persists.

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And Green said three Democrats are asking to meet with him in an apparent effort to dissuade him from bringing up the vote. Green and his allies were criticized for the effort, with the White House labeling them as "extremists".

George Gascón, district attorney for the city and county of San Francisco, would not comment on the developments but talked to reporters about the recent trial.

The day after the trial, federal authorities said they would seek to gain custody of Garcia Zarate and eventually deport him.

In the state's murder and manslaughter case against Zarate, his defense lawyers said he found the weapon and it accidently discharged, shooting Steinle as he held it. The bullet had ricocheted off the concrete walkway before striking Steinle, they pointed out.

Calls for the border wall have grown louder since Thursday, after a San Francisco jury acquitted the Mexican immigrant charged with the 32-year-old's murder. Her death has now become a rallying cry for more stringent immigration laws, including a crackdown on "sanctuary cities" and the creation of a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border. The gun, a Sig Sauer P239 semiautomatic pistol, was stolen from an unlocked vehicle of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger, authorities said.

The jury deliberated for six days before issuing its decision.

Man acquitted in Kate Steinle murder trial to face federal firearm charges